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Artistic Statement

Elias Wakan, Algorhythmic Constructivist

The sculptures I make develop a common theme in nature: structure (particularly geometric structure) evolving out of repetition. We see it all around us, from flower petals and the leaves of a tree to the cells that make up our fingernails and the molecular structure of absolutely everything, repeating elements that come together to make form. The phenomena is even more evident in the work of man, particularly in architecture and engineering, but really in almost everything.

My sculptures sometimes begin with an idea of the final form, but the best ones begin as an exploration of a repeating unit element. Just as a child might play with wooden blocks, making something real from their imagination, I begin with dozens or hundreds of identical copies of a unit shape, sometimes left over from a previous sculpture, and see what shapes emerge as the pieces are held, stacked, glued or taped together. All the different ways they might fit together algorithmically are categorized: matching exactly end to end, offset by a determined (or regularly changing) amount, or rotated, etc. Photographs are taken of the different shape possibilities and one is chosen to explore further, usually with calculations and some drawings before beginning the final cutting, gluing and clamping.

Besides an intellectual interest in making these complex, coiling, twisting, rhythmic, sculptural forms created out of multiple copies of a single unit shape, the real reason I make these sculptures is because they create joy.

a rock garden turned to carpet

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